One More Day!

I can’t believe we only have one more day of school – and that my daughter is graduating from elementary school tomorrow!  Those of you who are 5th grade parents are surely feeling the same way!

I’m going to try to do my weekly summer posts on Wednesdays.  I just want to keep in touch with everyone, and let you know if I find any awesome resources for keeping the kids occupied this summer.

On my professional blog, I am doing a week-long series of resources for parents over the summer.  You can check out today’s article here.

Also, one of my favorite go-to sites for GT kids is Mensa for Kids.  It has great puzzles and games that really get the students thinking.

One of my colleagues, who teaches GT at Bulverde Creek, is hosting a Tech Camp this summer.  The tuition is $100.  You can visit this link to find out more information.

And, one more resource you might like:  Fabulous and Free

You can subscribe to “Fabulous and Free”, and receive a free flyer every day with apps and e-books that are being offered for free.

Stay tuned for more ideas next week!

2nd Grade Shares Some GT Memories

I am so sad that today was my last class with 2nd grade! We spent the morning talking about what they had learned, doing some QR code reflections, and “playing” with some of the structure manipulatives. I also recorded each of them sharing a favorite GT memory, and linked the videos to a picture of the class. If you roll your mouse over the picture, you will see little dots on each person, and you can click the dot to watch his or her short video.

In addition, I have included the final batch of Powerpoint presentations created by the kids about their bridges. I am so proud of everyone’s hard work this year!

2nd Grade Has One More Class!

The 2nd graders worked hard to finish up their Powerpoint presentations about bridges today, and I have FIVE slide shows to share with you! We only have three more students who need to complete theirs. Next week is our last class, so we will hopefully get them done!

I also wanted to share this picture with you of one of our students who got to build his own bridge at the Children’s Museum of Houston last week 🙂

2nd Grade Continues to Work on Bridge Research

Many of the 2nd graders are still working on their Powerpoint presentations about bridges. I had one student complete his today, but for some reason his file refuses to load on to Google. I will keep working on getting it fixed.

The students also worked on some SCAMPER activities today, and we ended our day with some word puzzles to practice Visual Thinking – kind of like the one below from

2nd Grade Publishes Some Powerpoints!

The 2nd graders continued to work on their bridge research today, and a couple of the students completed their Powerpoint presentations. I have embedded them below. I hope to have more to share with you after our next class.

We will not have class next week due to the field trip, but I have asked the students to look for unique structures at the Botanical Gardens, and I expect they will have interesting reports.

We also worked some more on visual/spatial thinking today. I gave the students a map of South America, and asked them to use the Four-Color Theory they learned last week to color it. The catch was that each color “cost money”, and they had to figure out how they could spend the least amount while still making sure that regions of the same color did not touch. They used great strategies, and I was particularly impressed by how hard some of them planned before even beginning the activity.

2nd Grade Does Some Hard Visual Thinking!

The 2nd graders continued to work on their bridge Powerpoints today. A few of them are already finished, and are polishing them up with themes and photos. They also selected a new structure to research. I was surprised that many of them chose different tunnels instead of skyscrapers, which are usually the favorite.

We started our Visual Thinking unit for the year, and introduced the “Four Color Theorem“. They showed wonderful perseverance as they tried to find ways to color some sample maps using only 4 colors without any regions of the same color touching. Many of them made several mistakes, but started over without complaint, and fixed them. I gave them a bonus one to take home, and will give them a Class Dojo point if they return it completed correctly.

2nd Grade Learns How to KenKen!

Don’t worry. You read that right! We are not learning to CanCan in 2nd grade!

KenKen is a type of Math logic puzzle that is similar to Sudoku, but requires you to perform some math operations as well. Here is a link to an explanation for parents.

The students practiced this by using a free app called “Math Squared”. They also practiced another skill, which could be useful for learning Algebra later, called “Math Scaled”. I reviewed both of these on my professional blog today.

In addition to exercising their convergent thinking skills, the students continued to work on their Bridge Powerpoints, and we also read a fascinating book about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, by Elizabeth Mann. Ask your son or daughter to relate some of the interesting things they learned about this magnificent engineering feat.

2nd Grade Starts Powerpoints

Last Monday, the second graders began researching specific bridges that they had chosen.  The research was hard for them, because I challenged them with some questions that were not explicitly answered in the text, such as, “What are some factors  that influenced the materials and design?”  Despite the difficulty, they all worked hard, and most of them have started the 2nd phase of the project, which is to create Powerpoints with their information.

We finished up the day with some more SCAMPER activities.  The choices were to “Rearrange” Easter so that the bunny receives a gift from you instead of the other way around, or to “Combine” the Easter Bunny with another famous character, who could help the bunny with his job.  The students could also choose to try solving a very difficult logic problem, and I was really proud of the pair who worked hard to finish it correctly!

2nd Grade Researches Bridges

After reviewing what we learned about the Brooklyn Bridge, I showed the students how we could apply more depth to our learning using icons from Dr. Sandra Kaplan. We talked about the unique “Details” of the bridge, the “Trends” and “Patterns” in bridge building that we saw from looking at other suspension bridges, and how the bridge “Changed Over Time”.  Then the students each chose their own bridge from the Building Big website, and looked for similar information for their own bridges.

We also worked on a tough logic problem, and I was proud how hard everyone tried!  Great thinking, 2nd grade!

2nd Grade Explores the World of “Tanked”

We had a great opportunity today to go on a virtual field trip. Mrs. Valdez, in 5th grade, invited the 2nd grade GT students to join her class in a teleconference with the hosts from the television show, “Tanked”. For those of you who have not seen the show, it is a reality which films the productions of amazing aquariums all over the world. As we are studying structures, I knew this would fit right in with what we are studying. The men showed clips from the show, and answered questions from elementary students all over Texas. Unfortunately, our class was not chosen to ask a question live, but it was still exciting to watch and learn.

We also worked some more on SCAMPER, today. The students “Adapted” classrooms for leprechauns, and came up with some fun ideas. In addition, we viewed a short streaming video on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, and the students discussed the ethics involved in building the bridge. They then wrote from the perspective of the bridge, itself.

It was a busy day!

(You can click on each image to see a larger version. Please add comments. The students love them!)